We have a bunch of assignments to do while we’re here. It’s nice actually. I love school. I was great at school. And this keeps me feeling productive and busy. One of the assignments is to read “Psycho Educational Principles in the Treatment of Bulimia and Anorexia Nervosa.” It’s a very interesting article that talks about the effects of semi-starvation, dieting as “treatment” for obesity and why it doesn’t work, set point weight, etc. I highly recommend reading it if you have a few hours.
Anyway, there was a study done on 36 healthy young men at the University of Minnesota. They were studied for three months while eating normally, then served a diet which restricted their caloric intake by half, then given three months of rehabilitation when they were re-fed. I thought the results were super interesting. And here are some key points I wanted to share about their physical, emotional, and psychological changes:
Attitudes and Behavior Related to Eating: Increased preoccupation with food, hoarding, excessive gum chewing (Hello! They call me Sister Gum…)
Physical Changes: GI discomfort, decreased need for sleep, reduced strength, poor motor control, dizziness, etc.
Bulimia: When the men were presented with greater amounts of food during the rehabilitation phase many of them lost control of their appetites. Weekend splurges would commonly range between 8,000-10,000 calories.
EmotionalChanges: Subjects were psychologically healthy prior to the experiment. Most experienced emotional changes, including more irritability, anger, apathy, and anxiety. They were depressed and disorganized.
Social and Sexual changes: They became progressively withdrawn and isolated.
Cognitive changes: The subjects reported poor concentration, comprehension and judgment when they were semi-starved, although testing showed that their intellectual capacity wasn’t changed.
The biggest takeaway was that when the body is starved a person will become more oriented toward food, and other pursuits that aren’t vital to life (like social and sexual functioning) kind of fall away.
I thought the study was interesting because it kind of shows why I “night bake.” It’s a weird obsession with food combined with an inability to sleep. Both of which are products of my eating disorder . . .
So if you think about it, by becoming the Night Baker, I was using Frank (food obsession and inability to sleep) to fight Frank (raising money for treatment).
Haha, my nemesis. Good job contributing to your own demise.
(Note: Frank is Camilla's name for her eating disorder.)